NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Sgt. 1st Class Charles L. Adkins had completed two year-long tours in Iraq and another year in Korea, but when he was deployed to Afghanistan last November, his mother worried more than before.
"I had a fear this time," said Sheila Good of Hudson, Mich. "It just wouldn't leave me."
On Saturday, Sergeant Adkins, 36, was one of five U.S. servicemen killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Tuesday.
The group, who were in a meeting at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Nangarhar Province, died of injuries suffered when an Afghan National Army soldier attacked a group of U.S. and Afghan soldiers and interpreters with multiple grenades.
"This is the most horrible, horrible thing ever," Mrs. Good said. "Life will never be the same without him. It just won't. The world won't be the same without him because he was such a wonderful person."
A 16-year Army veteran, Sergeant Adkins was a 1993 graduate of Margaretta High School in Castalia, a small town southwest of Sandusky in Erie County.
He and his wife, Sarah, a 1995 Margaretta graduate, lived in Clarksville, Tenn., not far from Fort Campbell, Ky., where he had been stationed since 2002 as a maintenance supervisor with the 101st Sustainment Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division.
The couple had five children. Their 13-year-old son, Garrhett, is the oldest, followed by daughters Makayla, Mackenzie, and Gabriella. Their year-old son, Gavin, is the youngest.
"He was a good family man," said Sergeant Adkins' brother-in-law Josh Lane of Castalia, who graduated from high school with him.
He said Sergeant Adkins was a good friend long before he married his younger sister, Sarah.
"I've known Chuck since grade school," Mr. Lane said. "He's one of those people that always made you smile."
Indeed, a posting on Wade Adkins' Facebook page asking "everyone who knew my cousin Chuck Adkins to leave a comment about their fondest or funniest memory of him" was followed by numerous comments about Sergeant Adkins' smile.
"Like everybody else, I remember 'the smile,' " wrote one friend. "He ALWAYS had that smile on his face and that sparkle in his eyes. What I really loved about Chuck was how much respect he had for his parents and his friends, for everybody."
His father, Charles Adkins of Milan, Ohio, was too broken up to talk about the death of his only child Tuesday.
Mrs. Good said her son gave his all to the Army. He loved the Cleveland Browns, loved to play basketball, and enjoyed watching his own children play sports. He liked to fish and enjoyed golf so much he insisted on naming his youngest son, Gavin Mickelson, for pro golfer Phil Mickelson, she said.
"Before he left [for Afghanistan] he came and stayed a week with us," Mrs. Good recalled. "He went fishing. He loved to fish. He said, 'Mom, take my picture and take it up close to make it look like my fish is really big.'"
She had talked with him just a week before his death when he called her, assuring her he was doing all right and asking that everyone keep him in their prayers.
"What I really want people to know is he was a good Christian person," Mrs. Good said. "He was my only child. I can't imagine life without him."
At a news conference at Fort Campbell Monday, Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division, said those killed were taking part in a routine meeting when "a suicide bomber detonated himself."
The soldiers act as mentors to the Afghan National Army soldiers, he said, explaining that a soldier in an Afghan National Army uniform had entered the room and walked around a desk as if he were coming in to get papers signed.
"There were probably 40 people in the room," General Campbell said. "Several had a split second to hit the ground. It probably saved their lives."
Sergeant Adkins, four other U.S. soldiers, and four Afghan soldiers were killed. Nine U.S. and seven Afghan soldiers were wounded, along with seven interpreters.
Mrs. Good said she could not talk about the events that preceded her son's death because of the investigation that is under way, but she said, one thing was clear: Her son was a hero.
"He risked his life to save others," she said. "I can just tell you he was a hero."
A Fort Campbell official said that a memorial service for the four "Screaming Eagle" soldiers killed in the attack would be held in Afghanistan, and a remembrance ceremony would be held at Fort Campbell.
Family members of Sergeant Adkins said a service probably would be held near his hometown of Castalia at a later date.